Today's Catch

Mar 14, 2013
Credit:

Eduardo Zattara, Smithsonian Institution

The over 1,000 species of ribbon worms ( Nemertea ) are mostly found in marine environments (like the Hubrechtia found in a mud flat, in the photo). These worms have both a mouth and an anus (unlike flatworms, which use the same opening for both ingesting and removing their food). Some species are centimeters long, like the ones that Smithsonian scientists searched for in Florida , while others,...Read more
Jan 25, 2013
Credit:

NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel

In 2012, the long-elusive giant squid was finally filmed live in its natural habitat. The squid was found by placing glowing lures outside of a submersible to mimic jellyfish, which typically indicate to the squid that food is nearby. Before this encounter, the giant squid had never been observed in its natural environment, and the only film had been taken of a squid caught on a hook and brought...Read more
Jan 14, 2013
Credit:

I. MacDonald, FSU, Arctic Exploration 2002, NOAA

Polar bears have evolved to survive in the Arctic with large, oar-like front paws for better swimming, as well as insulating blubber, and two layers of fur for the frigid temperatures. They rely on pack ice, traveling thousands of miles in a year looking for food (mostly ringed and bearded seals, although they hunt other animals if they come across them). Polar bears are listed as threatened by...Read more
Dec 31, 2012
Credit:

©Mason Weinrich, Whale Center of New England

A right whale opens its mouth wide, revealing huge plates of baleen hanging from its upper jaw. There are between 200 and 270 baleen plates on each side of a right whale's upper jaw. They work like a giant sieve to catch the whale's food. Strong but flexible, baleen is made of the same substance as your fingernails - keratin. Discover more about this species in A Tale of A Whale , a photo essay...Read more
Dec 28, 2012
Credit:

Spencer Wright

The pinecone fish ( Monocentris japonicus ) looks like the real thing on land—covered in large scales with a dark trim. They are found lurking in caves and under ledges in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, and are a popular aquarium fish.Read more
Dec 25, 2012
Credit:

Nick Hobgood

This forest of Christmas tree worms is a group of polychaete worms that live on tropical coral reefs. See more celebratory ocean creatures in our slideshow!Read more
Dec 21, 2012
Credit:

Jerry Kirkhart

Ever heard of a cookie-cutter shark ( Isistius brasiliensis )? They look like your average shark —sort of menacing and streamlined—but their name comes from how they feed. They eat smaller animals (like squid) whole, but also take large, round cookie-cutter shaped bites out of larger animals, such as tuna, whales, dolphins, and seals (which you can see in this picture of an elephant seal). They...Read more
Dec 20, 2012
Credit:

Flickr user Laszlo Ilyes

The festive Christmas tree worm ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) lives on tropical coral reefs and resembles a fluffy fir tree adorned with ornaments. The multi-functional branch-like appendages are used by the worm to breathe and to catch meals of plankton floating by. See more holiday-themed animals !Read more
Dec 19, 2012
Credit:

Flickr User Michael Bentley

No two snowflakes are alike. Every snowflake is beautiful in its own way. But this one’s a bit scary. The snowflake moray eel ( Echidna nebulosa ) has white, black and yellow splotches all over its body, which come together to look like snowflake designs. Moray eels eat their prey in a unique way – with two jaws. The second set of jaws is in their throat, which shoots up and grabs the prey from...Read more
Dec 18, 2012
Credit:

Copyright © 2005 MBARI

This newly-discovered carnivorous sponge ( Chondrocladia lyra ) was found using robotic submersibles operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute 10,000 feet below the surface in dark waters. It traps small crustacean prey with barbed hooks found along its branch-like limbs. Once it has caught something, the sponge covers it with a thin membrane and the digestion process begins.Read more

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